My last two articles on inspection focused on the pre-production and during production inspection processes. This is the last article of this series on inspection processes in the apparel industry which focusses on the final audit done by the buyer before shipment.
Final random inspection or final audit
Once the garments are ready for shipment, a final inspection is conducted. In this, the inspectors are buyer representatives who are responsible for finding if the order is manufactured as per the customer’s requirements. The shipment packing, merchandise packing, and the merchandise itself are inspected for discrepancies. This includes the carton information, the shipping mark, order number, style number, type of packaging, package design, information on the packaging bag like the sizes, logo, etc. The garment is also inspected for appearance and sizes, and the tags required.
In case 80 per cent of the sample lot is not ready for inspection, the final inspection or audit date is postponed. Once the lot is ready, the cartons are chosen randomly for inspection, and the inspected cartons are signed or marked to ensure random selection.
The major points inspected in this stage are
- Size specifications and fit measurement
- Visual appearance (based on the garment zones)
- Packed quantity
- Material’s feel and appearance
- Style of the garment as per the buyer approved sample
- Size and colour ratios
- Carton dimensions, quality and markings
- Packing assortment
- Packaging presentation
- Labelling and tags
In Final Random Inspection (FRI), the procedure given in the flow chart (Figure 1) is followed.
For instance: Assuming an order of 1,000 pieces, having 3 colours black, grey, navy, and 5 sizes (S, M, L, Xl, and XXL) has to be visually inspected.
As per the sampling plan for the order, 80 pieces have to be inspected,the colour proportion is Black:Grey:Navy::2:3:5, and the size proportion is S:M:L:XL:XXL::1:2:3:2:1.
The acceptance criteria for the FRI is subjective to the standard followed by the buyers, for instance, for workmanship an AQL of four might beacceptable, whereas for size conformance, an AQL of 5 or 6 might be required, and in packing a zero tolerance policy is implemented.
Completing the inspection loop with proper inspection planning, keeping in mind the parameters of every inspection stage and proper inspection recording can help in providing the buyer with the expected quality level, along with enabling the factory to grow the level of quality produced, with every inspection being conducted and every order coming your way.